Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Savitri Era Religion has a civilizational responsibility

[God in God’s Own Country  Indian Express Tuesday 14 September '10 Pratap Bhanu Mehta
Since the object of religious reflection, namely some form of transcendence, has been delegitimised, religion can no longer be understood in any way other than a form of ethnic identity. … This politics is now truly global; every organised religious community is policing the boundaries of offensive speech or representation with a vengeance. This politics is also very competitive; patterns in one religion are seen as a license for other religions to mobilise.]

[Finally, we do not fully understand the ramifications of complex social change. Kerala’s culture and economy, more than any other state, is being shaped by global flows of both resources and ideology, and local adaptations will increasingly come under strain from larger currents and ideologies generated elsewhere.]

[Indian society and Indian universities are producing masses of young people all across whose sense of identity is very fragile. They will often express their frustrations by turning to radicalism. The advantage of any collective ideology is that it has the potential for compensating for a sense of individual failure and inadequacy. The power of genuinely liberal values in the face of these assorted anxieties is more fragile than we think. To preserve them will require a clarity and consistency, not the equivocation and double standards our political parties are used to. Kerala is a stark reminder of how even well developed states can regress. The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi express@expressindia.com]

Savitri Era Religion is a rational recourse concerning identity as well as relatedness. Its genesis is inextricably linked to the 20th Century history of India and the world and, although initially a movement involving a few spots, it is now fairly widespread. The challenge, however, is to attract young people in large numbers at a time when radicalism is on the rise on the one hand while callousness is casting a spell on many on the other.

Savitri Era Religion possesses incomparable content and what is needed is suitable packaging. It must also be able to instill a sense of security in the newcomers when they are invited. There must be people around who inspire confidence and promotional literature should be accessible in terms of cost as well as comprehension.

Heehs’ mischief, in this context, is unquestionably despicable. The conspiracy that he is clandestinely spearheading needs to be retaliated in appropriate sophistication. Religious unity, solidarity, and fellow feeling have assumed enhanced significance in the fragmented world wresting with the winds of globalization. Savitri Era Religion has a civilizational responsibility at this critical juncture. [TNM]

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